Corner of Church St and Market St Wollongong Sunday 8am, 9:45am +livestream, 11:30am Easy English, 5pm and 7pm

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If I’m Honest About Evangelism…

View from the pew

Every year, as Christmas carols begin to warble through shopping centres and festive decorations magically reappear, my thoughts instinctively jump towards family, gifts, food and making holiday plans. At the same time, I’m reminded of the incredible opportunity that Christmas offers to share the good news about Jesus with my unbelieving family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

If you’re anything like me, perhaps you feel a twinge of guilt, thinking: Holidays are a time for rest and relaxation! Can’t I share the gospel during school terms and just enjoy time with my family over the break?

Recently, St Michael’s young adults’ growth groups have been going through a Bible study book: Honest Evangelism by Rico Tice. Although we’re only a few chapters into the book, it’s been challenging, and has already changed the way I think about evangelism. For example:

  • First, we should be grieved when Jesus isn’t adored by the people around us. Seeing people worship false idols around us should motivate us to share the gospel.
  • Secondly, whenever we meet new people, we ought to think: “Where will they be in 100 years’ time?” We have a sure guarantee with Jesus for eternity; this news is worth sharing!
  • Thirdly, we can’t forget the grim reality of hell. This quote from non-Christian magician, Penn Jilette (of Penn and Teller), is challenging: “I don’t respect people who don’t evangelise… If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them because it would make it socially awkward… how much do you have to hate somebody not to evangelise?”
  • Finally, are we living as functional atheists? Do we come to church on Sunday then live the rest of the week as though it isn’t true or significant? Has maintaining your family’s respect and having an easy time in life become idols?

According to Rico Tice, our willingness to share the gospel comes down to love. If we’re so worried by what others think of us, then we actually love ourselves more than we love the Lord. If we really love our friends and family, we should warn them of the dangers of hell, share the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and invite them to join the eternal banquet in His new creation!

Honestly, I find evangelism stressful and awkward. But by God’s grace, I’m becoming more open to it. God is changing me through my prayers, the opportunities I’ve taken in evangelism training at church (like attending Simply Christianity with a friend or reading Honest Evangelism) and actively seeking chances to engage with uni friends.

So, why not use the upcoming events at St Michael’s to engage this Christmas? Invite family and friends to our 160th celebrations, Carols on the Lawn, Carols in the Cathedral, or our Christmas Day services. You could even invite international guests or uni students into your home to celebrate on Christmas Day.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Cor 5:14-15)

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